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Tuesday, 29 September 2020

My Favorite Masks for Kids

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you purchase through these links but it won't cost you any more. Thanks for your support. 

Today is a big day in our house, with Mathilde returning to in person learning at school!

I was starting to think that this day would never come, but it's finally here almost seven months after schools abruptly closed. For now, it's just Mathilde attending school in person as our school district has decided to start with the youngest learners (Kindergarten through second grade) returning first. Ava and Lola will likely return in person some time in October or November. The schedule is still in the planning stages so we'll have to wait and see.

As with our home learning, Mathilde's in person learning will run from Tuesday through to Friday. Mondays have been set aside as a teacher planning day with the kids working independently at home. This is great as it gives us a little more flexibility on Mondays. The kids still have work to do, but as there's no set time so we can get out and explore on nice days. Yesterday we went for a short hike in Boulder Mountain Park and it was so nice to be out without the weekend crowds. 

Anyway, with school partly returning in person, the main focus has been on keeping the kids, staff and families safe. This means lots of handwashing and hand sanitzer, daily health checks, social distancing, and, of course, wearing masks. I'm sure by now you've seen lots of pics of my kids out and about in masks as we've been wearing them every time we step out of the house since April. In the six months that we've been wearing masks we've accrued quite the collection and have had plenty of time to work out what works best for each member of our family. 

So, today I'm sharing my favorite masks for the kids! You'll find a few different styles here as different situations (or hair styles!) call for different masks. Plus sometimes we just like to mix things up!


For the most part we wear Mochi Kids and Joah Love masks on a daily basis. 

The Mochi Kids masks are Lola and Mathilde's favorites as they are super comfy and come in cute kawaii designs. They're made of a super soft cotton a little thicker than t-shirt fabric.  Lola and Mathilde wear the kids' size while Ava and I wear the adult size. Lola can also wear the adult size if needed but it's a tiny bit big for her for now. I have a simple hack for making mask straps shorter below, so make sure to keep reading!

Ava mostly prefers to wear a plain black mask so Joah Love masks are her go to. We have lots of them in black! Joah Love masks have a really clever way of adjusting the ear straps which makes them one of my favorites. Like the Mochi Kids masks they're made of t-shirt soft cotton so they're really comfy to wear. I've just bought their new infinity strap masks which we can hang around our necks when we take them off. Super handy for when we're out hiking and only come across people every now and then.

Kim wears both the Joah Love masks and Hedley & Bennett masks. I have both of these too. The Hedley & Bennett masks are made of a stiffer, yet still soft, cotton and are a little more structured. In both brands I wear the small/medium and Kim wears the large. We're yet to try out the kid sizes, but as they're made just the same as the adult sizes I know they're great quality and will be very comfy.

Another brand that we've been wearing is Lilla Barn. These masks have long stretchy straps that tie around the back of the head rather than ear loops. This makes them great for wearing with glasses as there's less bulk behind the ears. They're also super adjustable and can be pulled down to hang around your neck when not is use. They can be a little fiddly to tie though.

You can see the masks mentioned above plus a few other favorites below. As always, click the bold and underlined links below to shop.


😊 Joah Love Infinity Mask with Filter Pocket

😊 Hanna Andersson Kids Mask 2 Pack

😊 Mochi Kids Mustard Happy Mask

😊 Primary 3 Pack Rainbow Navy Masks

😊 Lilla Barn Mask

😊 Hedley & Bennett The Kids Mask 3 Pack 

😊 Mochi Kids Kawaii Halloween Mask

😊 Joah Love Black White Stripes Mask

Along with our masks there are a few accessories that make our mask wearing days easier. I like to keep our clean masks by the front door so they're always ready to grab on our way out. I found this  faux leather hanging folio at Target a little while back and it's prefect for storing masks by the front door. If we have masks that have been worn very briefly and will be worn again later that day they hang on the hooks, otherwise they go straight into the wash. When we're out and about I keep spare masks in snack size Stasher bags or ziplock bags. They're a handy way to keep masks clean before use. 

There are a few accessories that make mask wearing a little easier. If your mask pulls uncomfortably on your ears mask extender straps (also known as "ear savers" will help with comfort. If your mask straps are too long (which is the case for a couple of Mathilde's) my simple hack to shorten them is to tie small clear elastic bands about a centimetre in from the end - or how ever long you need to shorten them. I keep a handful of these in my handbag both for Mathilde's hair (she's growing out her fringe and wears it in a tiny ponytail at the moment) and also incase I need to shorten mask straps on the go. Mask lanyards are handy for when you need to take your mask on and off regularly. I like the lanyard below with the breakaway safety snap. This will come apart should the strap get caught on something that could cause strangulation. My last "hack" is for those of us with glasses (ie. three out of five in our family). If you've worn a mask with glasses you'll know that they tend to fog up easily. Using an anti fog wipe, drops or spray will make a difference. Make sure to purchase a product that's suitable for any coatings your glasses might have.

  


😊 Entryway Faux Leather Hanging Folio

😊 Anti Fog Cloth

😊 Stasher Bag Snack Size

😊 Breakaway Safety Lanyard

😊 Goody Clear Ouchless Rubber Bands

😊 Optix 55 Anti Fog Treatment


Do you have any favorite masks you'd like to share? Or maybe accessories that make mask wearing a little easier? 

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Crush Walls 2020 & RiNo Street Art

Lat weekend the kids and I spent a day in Denver's RiNo neighborhood checking out the annual Crush Walls street art festival.

By now, you'll know I'm a big street art fan. You won't need to look back far through the archives to see that as my last post was also about a street art festival. Ha! Actually, this is our third street art festival in just a few months. 

Anyway, Crush Walls is an annual festival that takes part in Denver's River North, or RiNo, arts district every September since 2010. I had been worried that it would be canceled this year due to Covid, so it was a pleasant surprise when I read that it was still going ahead - with masks and social distancing, of course. The festival features events throughout the week culminating in the main event on the weekend. We attended on the Sunday. I always like to go to these sorts of things a little later as we get to see more finished pieces. 

Let's take a look at all the color and fun of Crush Walls 2020 - plus a lot of other murals that we checked out in RiNo. 

Monday, 31 August 2020

Babe Walls

By now you guys probably know that I'm a big fan of street art. I share a lot of it here on the blog and especially over on Instagram. Finding colorful walls is one of my favorite things to do and I love it when there are a lot of murals all in the same area. For this reason, street art festivals are one of my favorite things. 

You may remember that we went to Colfax Canvas a little while back and watched the artists at work. Well, more recently there was another street art festival near us called Babe Walls. My favorite thing about this particular festival? All 25 of the artists involved were women and non-binary folks! In a field that's often dominated by male artists this was such a refreshing change.

Now, we didn't actually make it to the festival to see the artists at work, however the kids and I did go check out all the murals once they were done. They're so good! If you're in the Denver metro area make sure to head to  Westminster to check them all out. And if not, well, you can see them here! I've shared the Instagram handles of each of the artists under their work if you're interested in checking them out. 

Mural by @seewalker_art & @r0melle
Mural by @chelsealewinski, @ashleyjoonart & @taylorherzog
Mural by @annacharneyart & @reverieink
Mural by @kaitlinziesmer & @kjorin
Mural by @lindeezimmer & @olivemoyer
Mural by @kokonofilter
Murals by @reveryart & @alexandrea_pang
Mural by @seewalker_art & @r0melle

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Staying Healthy for Back to School with Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies

Disclaimer: I was provided with free product from Moms Meet (momsmeet.com) in exchange for my honest review. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

It's back to school season!

While back to school may be looking a little different this year (ok, a lot different) there are still plenty of things that will stay the same. There may not be backpacks, school buses, and classrooms for those learning at home but those first day jitters and the early starts will still be there. For kids returning in person things will look different too with masks, hand sanitzer, and social distancing.

No matter how back to school looks for your family this year, there's one thing that we all strive for, and that's keeping our kids (and ourselves) healthy. Keeping active, eating a healthy diet and getting enough sleep is imperative, not just for our bodies but also for our minds. Our little learners can only take in so much at school if they're not feeling well.

Our school district has returned to home learning for the beginning of the school year. This means that while the kids are less likely to pick up germs from classmates, their health may be affected in other ways due to extended screen time and less chances to get active.


So, what am I doing to keep the kids healthy and happy while they learn at home? Read on as I share what works for us...

Start off the day fresh with a good night's sleep
Ok, this can be a tough one, especially after the long Summer break when regular schedules went out the window. Well, for our family at least! Setting a bedtime schedule makes a huge difference, especially for younger kids. Make bath time a part of your bedtime schedule. It's a great way to calm little bodies down, especially if you add a little lavender to their bathwater or use bath products containing lavender. Avoid screen time before bed and opt for story time and snuggles instead.


Drink lots of water
Learning can be thirsty work, so make sure that your little one stays hydrated throughout the school day. My kids are much more likely to drink more water if it's handy, so I make sure they fill their water bottles with cold water before starting their day and keep them on their desk. I need to take this advice myself!

Make time to get active
Sitting still at a desk all day isn't good for anyone, so make sure to get active during scheduled breaks. Even if it's just jumping on the trampoline for 5 minutes, playing on a swing or climbing structure, riding a scooter in the backyard, playing fetch with a pup or tag with a sibling, getting active makes such a difference. If you have access to outdoor space at home the change in location, the fresh air and the sunshine help a lot too.


Plan outdoor activities for after school
Once the kids are done with school for the day I like to get them outside and moving. We're lucky enough to have a backyard now that we live in Colorado, but we still got outside plenty when we lived in our apartment in California. Heading to a local park to run around or play on the playground (if it's open) is a great option. A family walk after dinner is another great option. After school activities including gymnastics, dance and swimming have just reopened here so we're making use of these too.

Take screen free breaks
Not all breaks from the computer need to involve exercising your body. Give your eyes a break from bright screens and exercise your mind by reading a book or drawing a picture. Creative play with Lego, Magnatiles, building blocks, playdoh etc is a great option too. Even if it's only a 5 or 10 minute break from class work switching things up with activities like these gives kids a rest while still keeping their mind active.


Provide healthy snacks
Have healthy snacks and meals on hand for recess and lunch. Make sure to include a mix of fruits, veggies, proteins and healthy grains. As younger kids tend to be grazers, I find that serving food up in a muffin tray (with a different food in each spot) is a great way to get fussy eaters eating a variety of food. School recess and lunch breaks don't tend to be very long, so make sure to check your kids' schedules and prepare ahead. That way they'll have plenty of time to eat without having to rush.

Give your immune system a boost with Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies
On top of providing my kids with healthy meals I like to give their immune system a boost with Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies. My kids and I have one or two Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies each morning with breakfast.


These little gummies are packed full of antioxidants along with vitamin C and zinc and offer natural immune support for adults and children ages 4 and up. They suitable for vegans and vegetarians, and are free from gluten, nuts, soy, dairy, eggs,  artificial color and artificial flavor. 


Have you tried Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies? 

You can purchase Sambucol Black Elderberry Gummies from Walmart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, GNC, The Vitamin Shoppe, Ralphs, Vons, Safeway, and Kroger. You can find a retailer near you at www.sambucolusa.com/pages/store-locator 


Thursday, 20 August 2020

Bath Bombs & Soap Making at Buff City Soap

Are your kids still on Summer break?

We have just one week left before the kids go back to school and I've been trying to make it memorable with fun outings - which isn't easy given the pandemic, the heat or the wildfire smoke.

But I did find a fun indoor activity perfect for small groups - soap and bath bomb making at Buff City Soap! We headed to our nearest Buff City Soap in Aurora earlier this week and spent an afternoon with some good clean fun.


Now, we've made bath bombs at home before in the past (you can see them here) but these bath bombs were the legit real deal. The shape, the texture, the fragrance... they were all just like the ones from the store. Well, some of our shapes might've come out a little odd, but for the most part they were perfect. The kids were pretty proud of what they made.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Yellowstone National Park: Mammoth Hot Springs

Just when you thought you'd never have to see another Yellowstone post from me again I'm back with one more! Trust me, you'll want to hang around for this one. It's a good one!

One of my favorite places in all of Yellowstone was Mammoth Hot Springs. Located in the very northern part of the park, right by the Montana border, Mammoth Hot Springs is a fair drive from the South entrance of Yellowstone, but oh boy is it worth the trip. The landscape here is quite unique, and very different to anything you'll see elsewhere in the park. It's quite otherworldly and at times, as Mathilde pointed out, it felt like we were on the surface of the moon.

Mammoth Hot Springs is known for its spectacular travertine terraces, made where water and limestone interact, but there is so much more to see here. Let's take a look...



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